There are a thousand things you can change when printing a shirt, from the speed the squeegee goes across the screen, to the amount of time it takes for the platens to lower from printing height, and every one of those things can change how a shirt looks at the end of a print. With potentials of 20-30 different designs a day, you’ll be changing one or all of these things every day, so we’ve found it important to have a base point to start from each time.
The place we’ve found this to be most true is in changing from different placements on a shirt. When we go from printing a three color front to printing a tag, there a many things that have to change. The pressure of the print, the angle of the squeegee, the placement of the screen and the speed of the print can all easily make a tag print unusable. Making sure that the machine has been customized for each individual job helps to make every print a good one.
In this mindset we’ve come up with what we call the Neutral Positions. Each machine has it’s own set of neutral positions that it has to return to at the end of every job. As soon as we take the screen down we reset all of the micro-registration apertures, individual press arm pressures, screen clamp positions, print speeds, and even have a forced index dwell time of 1 second in order to slow us down and keep us focused on producing quality products every time. Having a standard of where everything is set when you start a job makes us focus on each thing being set new for every job. This insures that we set every job up for the specific print we want, and never blindly trust that the machine is ready to print from the job we printed before.
Resetting the machine to neutral each time helps us to give every job the attention that it deserves, and makes us slow down and really consider each job as it’s own entity, deserving of the time and effort it takes to make the shirt our customer wants.